Onondaga brothers Jeremy and Hiana Thompson had a common dream, to someday play professional lacrosse at Syracuse University. A new documentary film titled “The Medicine Game” captures the challenging seven year journey of these two athletes.
The film, which aired September 24th on PBS, got rave reviews on social media. Filmmaker Lukas Korver shares, “We got awesome feedback. We had a really good Twitter and Facebook promotion for it. People were going crazy about wanting to see the film.”
The Thompson brothers are from the Onondaga Nation Reserve in New York State and were ranked as the top lacrosse players in the country while they played for Lafayette High School. Despite strong athletic abilities, the brothers were hindered from pursuing lacrosse at Syracuse University after high school because of low SAT scores. There were some personal struggles involved as well; the brothers were trying to reconcile after a major dispute left Hiana with a broken jaw and unable to play a championship game.
Racial tension also arose as the young men defended the right to wear Gustowahs and ribbon shirts for graduation.
With their identity, dreams and brotherhood challenged, the film follows each brother’s journey as they press onward in spite of setbacks.
Korver says, “It’s kind of a coming of age story: a lot of trials and tribulations, ups and downs, crying and laughing. It’s really a roller coaster ride and a transitional time in their lives at that age. Lacrosse is kind of a back drop for watching these guys work and play and succeed and fail. I would not say that this is a lacrosse film, I would say it is about two young men who just happen to be these amazing lacrosse players.”
Although the film is still waiting out a 90 day clearance to broadcast on Canadian television, it is definitely headed our way. For now, the film is going to the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Arkansas, Nebraska on October 18. There are also plans to hold a community screening at the Onondaga Nation, and hopes to have one here at Six Nations as well.
The film is now available to purchase online for private home use at www.themedicinegame.com or you can view it online for a limited time at pbs.org.